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A line chart is the simplest type of chart. One price (close) is plotted for each time period. A single line connects each of these price points. The main strength of this chart type is simplicity.
Bar charts are one of the most popular types of charts used in technical analysis. For each trading day a vertical line is plotted. The top of the vertical line indicates the highest price a security traded at during the day, and the bottom represents the lowest price. The closing price is displayed by the mark on the right side of the bar and opening prices are shown on the left side of the bar.
Developed by the Japanese in the 1600's, candlestick charts are merely bar charts that extenuate the relationship between open, high, low and closing prices. Each candlestick represents one period of data (day-week) and consists of an upper shadow, lower shadow and the body. The upper shadow is the highest price that the stock traded at for the period while the lower shadow represents the lowest price. The candlestick body is black when the close is less than the open or white when the close is greater than the open. The top of the body is the opening price if the candle is black and the candle is referred to as a long black candle. If the candle is white, the top of the body is the closing price and the candle is referred to as a long white candle.
Steven Nison's articles that explain Candlestick charting appeared in the December, 1989 and April, 1990 issues of Futures Magazine. The definitive book on the subject is Japanese Candlestick Charting Techniques also by Steve Nison.
There are many different candlestick formations. Some are considered to be minor formations while others are major. Candlestick charts dramatically illustrate supply/demand concepts defined by classical technical analysis theories.
Major Candlestick Chart Formations:
Gravestone Doji: A doji (open and close are the same) and the high is significantly higher than the open, high and closing prices. This formation typically occurs at the bottom of a trend and signals a bullish reversal.
Dragon-fly Doji: A doji (open and close are the same) and the low is
significantly lower than the open, high and closing prices. This formation typically
occurs at the top of a trend and signals a bearish reversal.
Abandoned Baby Doji: A doji, which occurs at the bottom of a chart formation with gaps on both sides of the doji.
Harami Cross: This formation signals a market top. It consists of a
harami, which is a long black line candlestick which precedes and engulfs a
doji with no body.
Engulfing Pattern: A two-candle bullish formation consisting of a small
long black line engulfed by the second candle, a long white line.
Evening Star: A bearish pattern usually occurring at a top. The formation
consists of three candles. The first is a long white line followed by a star
and then a long black line. The star can be either black or white.
Dark Cloud Cover: A two candle formation whereby the first candle is a long white line and the second candle is a long black line whose body is below the center of the first candle. This is a bearish formation.